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Pope Joan (1972)

In medieval Europe, a pious young woman becomes a scholar of theology, disguises herself as a man, rises through the Catholic Church hierarchy and is elected Pope.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pope Joan
Joan's Father
Natasa Nicolescu ...
Joan's Mother
Sharon Winter ...
Joan as a child
Margareta Pogonat ...
Village woman
Richard Bebb ...
Lord of Manor
Elder monk
Young monk
Susan Macready ...
Sister Nunciata
Shelagh Wilcocks ...
Sister Louise
Mother Superior
Emperor Louis


This movie is based on the medieval legend of Pope Joan, who was made Pope for a brief period around 855 A.D. Although it is questionable that Pope Joan really did exist, this movie presents her existence as fact, and portrays her relationships with other notables of the time. Written by edk <laplaza@ccnet.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Heresy ... or history ? See more »


Drama | History


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

29 September 1972 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Devil's Imposter  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The original plan was to shoot on location in Italy but this proved too expensive so the film was made at Bray Studios outside London, home to the Hammer horror movies. Some location work was done in Romania and Cyprus. Shooting in Romania proved to be rather difficult, given that there was hardly anything of a native film industry and also because the country was very tightly controlled by the Communist regime. See more »


Version of Pope Joan (2009) See more »


Tu es Petrus
Sung by The Sistine Chapel Choir
Under the Direction of Domenico Bartolucci
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User Reviews

a wonderful film
10 August 2009 | by See all my reviews

"What a surprise! Not only the story, but what a cast! Liv Ullmann, Trevor Howard, Olivia de Havilland, Maximilian Schell, Franco Nero, Leslie Ann Down! And the texture of the movie - the crude medieval villages, the halls of the ancient Vatican, the incredible 10th Century nunnery, the countryside of Saxon Germany, in peace and war, scene after scene that could never have been shot in Hollywood. But the greatest discovery is the performance of Liv Ullmann. If anything ever deserved an Academy Award. She creates more passion and sexual desire with her eyes and the movement of a hand than the whole pantheon of current sex goddesses could with all their bodies and a ravishing musical score behind them. And when it comes to tragedy and fear those same eyes dig so deeply into the soul they leave a mark that haunts you for weeks. This is a wonderful, wonderful picture."

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